Crazy Faith

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. (Hebrews 11:1 TPT)

God expects #faith that compels action. I’m not talking faith versus works…I’m talking about faith that is too strong not to respond in some way to what we believe about Him.

Jesus requires the man with the withered hand to stretch it out as best he can toward Him. God’s word for Naaman is to dip seven times in the muddiest water hole around. The disciples are ordered to sit the 5000+ down for a meal that hasn’t yet materialized–and it’s either going to make them heroes or the biggest fools on the planet.

There are many “bring them to Me” moments recorded in the Bible. Everything from five loaves and two fishes to a weighty test of whether Abraham will be willing climb a mountain to offer his son to God. When the Lord is getting ready to do something whopping stupendous big, He asks a token of that person’s faith–and that something might seem embarrassing, ostentatious, risky, perplexing, seemingly nonsensical, or impossible to rationalize. But consider: isn’t faith at times any/all of the above?

I saw where Theresa Hanshaw posted a challenge today for believers to get their passports in anticipation of trips to the mission field. It’s another bring-them-to-Me window of opportunity. It’s a way of saying, “I don’t just flirt with the idea of God doing extraordinary things for me; I prepare for it.”

People of real faith don’t just pray for rain, they set out their buckets and barrels. Hungry seekers don’t just wish for a visitation from God; they clear all the junk out of their guest room, fluff the pillows, and keep checking to see if He’s on the doorstep yet. They start coming up with names for the baby. They stick their toes into the Red Sea before it parts. They don’t calculate their odds of winning, consult the Doppler radar for probability of precipitation, or fact-check at Snopes to ascertain whether that sort of miracle has ever really happened before.

Put walking shoes on your prayers today. And don’t pray lazy, boring, 95% off markdown rack prayers that apologize for expecting too much of a tired, frail, depleted, resourceless Savior—request the impossible kind of stuff a person would ask only if he or she really believes in a great big wonderful God. Not that any of it is actually a challenge to Him, of course…but our prayers are often so lackadaisical and faithless that they don’t even get the attention of our angels (who are left undispatched, like Maytag repairmen)—much less inspire the Creator of the Universe.

Ask big…then go get your passport. 😉

Father, we live in a day when, even with all our technology and endless information and gadgetry, our imagination for dreaming big things seems diminished.  It doesn’t even occur to us to bind and loose, to call things that be not as though they were, to see wrongs and deficiencies and make them right.  Forgive us for our anemic, lazy, “template” requests that require little to no faith.  Forgive us for giving You so little chance to show us just how powerful and capable You really are!

We ask You to awaken the dreamer in each of us today.  File away the callouses from our hardened, indifferent hearts so that we may have a heightened awareness of situations around us which warrant change.  Make us those agents of change!  Your Word tells us that we have not because we ask not…and we are not asking because we are instead ignoring or just accepting.  O God, realign our priorities.  Make us hungrier than ever for Your Word; for as we read Your great exploits from Genesis to Revelation, it renews our understanding all over again just how mighty and capable You are to do the seemingly impossible.  We ask that You will reveal to us extravagant requests to make…make us aware of what never before occurred to us to ask.  You are the Creator who created us in Your image, with creativity in our DNA.  Awaken that creativity which causes us to partner with You in the miraculous.

From this day forward, make us divinely dissatisfied to coast through our lives, doing just enough to get by.  Give us BIG vision.  Share Your heart with us about what YOU see needing changed and then help us to get on board with You.  We stretch out “withered” hands to You that have withered from inaction and we say, “Wake up every sleeping part of us that could otherwise be doing Your work.”  Help us build “crazy faith” so that we will imagine, dream, and invite You to go above and beyond our wildest requests.  Nothing is too hard for You…so take us on the ride of a lifetime as You erase the “im” from impossible.  In Jesus’ name we pray, and in faith we ask for more from a Father with an unlimited supply.

(Adapted from my Facebook status 7/31/17)

Prayer Confession Over Anxiety

Prayer over anxietyI am sitting down in Your presence, Papa God, spending the night with my Most High God. I am pressing in close to You–close as I can possibly get. I’m Your little shadow–right under Your wing! I say to You, “Abba, You’re my refuge. I trust in You and I’m safe!”

That’s right…and even now, I thank You for rescuing me from hidden traps, shielding me from deadly hazards. Your huge outstretched arms are protecting me— under them I AM perfectly safe; Your arms fend off all harm. YOU LOVE ME AND I’M CERTAIN OF IT!

I will fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows (or bad news, or big bills, or negative doctors’ reports, or money worries, or even family drama) in the daytime. None of these things will cause me to lose my peace and not one ounce of sleep!

I’m not affected by fear of disease that prowls through the darkness, nor of disaster that erupts at high noon. When the enemy does his worst, YOU WILL DO YOUR BEST!  When he tries to flood me with despair, YOU are my floodwall of protection and YOU ARE SHUTTING THE FLOODGATE ON DESPAIR!  I am safe until the torrent subsides.

Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze me. I am standing untouched, watching it all from a distance, I watch the wicked turn into corpses, watching it on tv news, yet not being a part of it. I DON’T FEAR THAT THOSE SAME THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO ME!

Yes, Papa, because You are my refuge, the High God my very own home, evil can’t get close to me, harm can’t get through the door. You’ve ordered Your angels to guard me wherever I go…and that’s just what they’re doing! Even if I would stumble, they’ll catch me; their job is to keep me from falling. Thank you, Papa God, for having my back (and all the rest of me) covered!

There may be feisty young lions and cunning serpents lying in wait on my pathway, but You’re keeping me safe. I walk safely along just as though they’re not even there…and if they try to attack, You’re empowering me to just kick them out of my path. I will treat them as the nuisance that they are and nothing more. They will not break my spirit and they will not break my stride.

Abba, You’ve said, “If you’ll hold on to Me for dear life, I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call Me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”

Well, that’s just what I’m doing! Thank You for getting me out of trouble, for giving me the best of care as I strive to know and trust You more. Thank You for always answering when I call, for staying right with me through thick and thin. Thank You for rescuing me and then making me feel celebrated and special…because I’m Your child and I know You love me! Thank You for quality of life, a satisfied life, and a perfect salvation which will last me all of eternity.

I am taking a deep breath now and breathing in LIFE. I receive Your Holy Spirit with every breath! I am exhaling and pushing out every negative thought. I expel any thoughts that would crowd my mind from the knowledge that YOU are in control. I clear my soul of any problem that tries to look as tall and strong as my Lord Jesus! Any idea that violates my peace, any thought that would cause me to doubt that YOU are Sovereign, I arrest, handcuff, bind, toss into jail and throw away the key!
In Jesus’ name, anxiety has no more control over my life!

(Adapted into a prayer from Psalm 91:1-16 Message and KJV translations; and also from Isaiah 59:19, John 20:22 and 2 Corinthians 10:5)

Quietly Comes Our Rescuer

VoiceThe Lord said to Elijah, “Go, stand in front of me on the mountain, and I will pass by you.” Then a very strong wind blew until it caused the mountains to fall apart and large rocks to break in front of the Lord . But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a quiet, gentle sound. 1 Kings 17:11-12 NCV

I wonder how often when, faced with difficult situations, we imagine that God’s method of coming against our circumstances will be to “outdo” the noise of the enemy’s onslaught?  Do we have expectations of Him suddenly becoming loud, boisterous, angry, violent, ostentatious as He rises to our rescue?  What if we were to miss His visitation by overlooking the quiet, gentle sound that follows all the hoopla?

This particular passage of Scripture is intriguing to me, within and outside of its context.  Elijah had hit a spiritual crisis after his Mount Carmel moment.  The prophet who’d called down fire from heaven was now running scared from a wicked ruler who vowed to kill him.  In his despair, Elijah perceived himself to be the “only one left,” and he expressed his feelings of frustration and utter aloneness to God.  God revealed to him Who He is, by revealing to Elijah what He isn’t!

Now, God’s ways are so above our own, I don’t presume to know why He decided to appear to Elijah thus.  We know that in some other Bible stories, the Lord did appear in a loud and frightening fashion; and yet, this particular time, His quietness was a stark contrast to the roar of what preceded Him.

All that we ever need to place our trust in is His sheer faithfulness.  What He has promised in His Word, He will bring to pass.  If we try to predict or even manipulate His method of coming to our rescue, we will go chasing every wild and sensational “noise” around us.  How many people out there simply cannot bear not to be in the loop…and they step beyond the boundaries God has set.  We see scores of people nowadays flocking to mediums and psychics to give them a “when” and a “how;” and practices which are despicable to a holy God are increasingly gaining popularity on television.  Those who seek rogue answers to what He has not yet chosen to reveal operate in the polar opposite of faith:  fear.  Fear can drive one to the point of rebellion against the only One Who can truly help.  We can never sidestep our Creator and get a good result!  Knowing our fascination with appearances, the enemy is more than willing to send his deceptions to us in the big, bold, underscored—and most of all, instantaneous— “signs” that we seek.  Oh, how we need to clear our heads of our expectations and just WAIT ON THE LORD.

Our Father has granted access, through His Son, for us to approach His throne boldly in our time of need!  Even when our feelings are carnal, fearful, flawed, doubtful, or angry, He allows us to pour our hearts out to Him.  As we invite Him into our every day lives, and develop relationship with Him through daily interaction, we also establish the deep mutual trust that enables us to communicate honestly with God.  It is that regular communication that enlightens us to His nature.  That regular communication also teaches us to know that God doesn’t react.  He responds.  He responds to FAITH.

Don’t forfeit your miracle because it appears to be too simple to be from the Lord!  God doesn’t have to prove Himself bigger than our problems, stronger than our enemy.  He doesn’t fight noise with more noise.  When you are in a bad situation, and the chaos is deafening, you may surmise that He will show up in a big booming voice and command the storm to be still.  That’s not the way He does it!  When we read of Jesus calming the storm, it doesn’t say that He screamed out, “Peace, be still!”  He spoke it.  There was no alarm in His voice, no argumentative tone.  It wasn’t the WAY He said it; rather, it was WHO said it.

You may be in dire straits today, heart pounding from anxiety.  You may be looking at a clock or calendar, a financial statement or a medical report which demands something you can’t give.  Your child may have gotten into some trouble that can’t be negotiated away.  You may love someone who has fallen into addiction’s cruel trap, and it may make you feel powerless to help.  You may even feel like crying out, “God, where ARE You?!!”  Stop where you are.  Take a deep breath.  If tears need to fall, let them fall.  He is touched by the feeling of your infirmities!  Hebrews 4:15 Says it like this:  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  The word for infirmities in the Greek is astheneiais…and it encompasses more than mere physical impairment.  It is defined as feebleness (of mind or body); by implication, malady; morally, frailty — disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness.  Whatever area of your mind or body contains a frailty, He has it covered because He’s been there, done that!   Because Jesus survived the experience without failing His Father, you too have hope.  Think of Mary, who, after lamenting her brother Lazarus’ untimely death and Jesus’ absence, counters her emotional outburst with profound faith:  “I know, Lord, that EVEN NOW, even after it’s too late in the natural to reverse what has happened, You can raise him from the dead!”

Pray with me:  “Heavenly Father, You know all things already, so I stand before you without pretense.  You see my dilemma.  (Go ahead, be specific with the Lord now about what’s troubling you.)  Your Word tells me that You are all-knowing.  You also know that when the tempter attacks me in weak areas, the struggle to remain strong is more difficult.  I roll my works over onto You now.  I surrender my desire to fix what’s wrong by my own might…I already know it’s beyond my ability, but I also surrender that “need” to be in control.  No man can pluck out of Your hand what’s been committed to Your care, so I cast my cares in this situation upon You now.  I receive Your help.  I allow You to lift my shoulder from the burden!  I allow You to do what You know needs to be done in order to make right what is wrong.  Whatever You require of me, I determine to be obedient.  If You say that I must change something about myself, my habits, my associations, my affections, I surrender those to You as well.  If You should will to change ME instead of overtly changing my situation, then I ask for Your grace to embrace change, knowing that all things work together for good if I love You and am called according to Your purpose.    Thank You for hearing me.  Thank You for even those times when You answer in a quiet, unheralded way.  Your answer may not be noisy and big and grandiose…but I eagerly await the “Peace, be still,” if You should choose to merely whisper the remedy and bring it to pass!  I commit to wait upon You, to trust and to faint not.  Whatever You choose to do, please take Your liberty now, in Jesus’ name.”